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Herbal Supplements to Help Improve Health

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: lrohner • updated: 6/16/2011

Taking herbal supplements for health can help treat and prevent a number of conditions. Learn what herbs can help keep cholesterol levels under control, promote a good night's sleep, keep the mind sharp and so much more!

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    Herbs

    Herbal Supplements Herbal supplements can play a big role in good health if used properly. Herbs have been used for centuries to heal, prevent illnesses and diseases, and keep the body looking good. There are herbs with powerful properties that continue to have the ability to help fight infections which some antibiotics have become resistant to. Not only have antibiotics been around for a relatively short time, they have side effects capable of leading to other problems. There are herbs that can help prevent the number one killer in both men and women in the United States, heart disease, by lowering high blood pressure and regulating cholesterol levels.

    There are herbs that can help boost the immune system, increase blood circulation and decrease inflammation which can benefit people who get sick often, have a difficult time healing wounds and suffer from inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis. In addition, there are herbs that can help relieve anxiety, fight depression, induce sleep, promote weight loss and keep skin looking great.

    Below is a list of some of the many herbal supplements for health with a brief description of each. It is important to note that although herbs have many wonderful benefits, they do have the possibility of:

    • side effects (which are normally mild)
    • causing serious problems if not properly used
    • interacting with medications
    • harming a fetus or young child
    • causing problems in people with certain medical conditions

    Before taking any herbal supplement it is best to research the herb and consult with your health care provider, especially if you have a medical condition or you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking medications or giving to a young child.

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    Herbal Supplements

    Garlic

    Garlic is rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help boost the immune system and has been shown to decrease "bad" cholesterol levels, increase "good" cholesterol levels, decrease high blood pressure and decrease platelet aggregation. Garlic also shows promise in reducing one's risk of developing certain cancers.

    Ginkgo Biloba

    This herb contains antioxidants and has demonstrated remarkable effects in improving many symptoms associated with aging. Ginkgo biloba improves blood flow and can benefit conditions such as short-term memory loss, depression, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

    St. John's Wort

    St. John's wort has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help heal wounds, treat mild to moderate cases of depression and relieve menopause symptoms, especially when combined with the herb black cohosh. It may even help in weight loss.

    Valerian

    Valerian root is believed to have similar effects as benzodiazepine drugs like Valium, making it a wonderful herbal supplement to relieve anxiety and promote a good night's sleep. It is also used as a remedy to soothe an upset stomach.

    Hibiscus

    Drinking three cups of hibiscus tea a day has been shown to lower blood pressure, and drinking a cup after meals can help with weight loss by reducing the absorption of dietary carbohydrates.

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    Final Note

    Besides taking herbal supplements for health, it is also important to eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, avoid smoking and limit alcoholic beverages.

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    References

    Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998)

    University of Maryland Medical Center - http://www.umm.edu/

    Photo by warrendiggles / Flickr

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.